The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
This is a larger than average sized infant school, serving a village close to Doncaster, with a mixture of mainly owner occupied and some rented housing. Almost all the pupils are White British. The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is below average, as is the proportion with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, although both are higher than at the time of the last inspection. The school has achieved Quality Mark Awards for high standards, Investors in People, Activemark and the Healthy School awards. It is currently working towards the International Award for schools.
Overall effectiveness of the school
Pupils love coming to this outstanding school. 'You get to learn so many things and make lots of friends' sums up the views of many pupils. Pupils thrive and make consistently good and often excellent progress because the school's motto 'Together we achieve more' underpins every aspect of its life. Pupils talk eagerly about the exciting things they do. Their behaviour is excellent, they work hard in lessons and everyone gets on exceptionally well together. Pupils are proud of the 'friendship stop' they have set up in the playground and really appreciate the way the school listens to their ideas. They love the many opportunities they have to exercise, such as 'Wake up, shake up' and have a very good understanding of what they need to do to keep healthy and safe. Pupils' outstanding personal development provides an excellent platform for their learning and ensures that they are exceptionally well placed to face life's future challenges.
Pupils make excellent progress overall. They reach standards that are significantly above national averages from starting points, when they enter the Nursery, that vary from average to just above average each year. High quality teaching across the school underpins pupils' impressive learning. Teachers' planning of lessons is excellent. The needs of different groups are consistently identified and met, very effective and efficient links are made between subjects that make learning relevant and purposeful. All lessons have very clear objectives. Teachers use these very well to focus pupils' efforts. This enables pupils to understand, and even identify for themselves, what they should be able to do by the end of each lesson. All teachers use high quality resources well, such as interactive whiteboards, to enliven and promote learning. Improvements in the use of assessment to match learning more precisely to pupils' needs, and to provide very helpful guidance to pupils, is impressively accelerating progress in their learning. Well trained assistants provide skilful support for pupils who need extra help, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and these pupils make the same excellent progress as other pupils.
The school takes great care to ensure that its curriculum meets all pupils' needs and promotes excitement and enjoyment in their learning. Pupils benefit from the chance to learn a modern foreign language and there are many high quality clubs, which pupils love to attend. Very successful steps have been taken to ensure that pupils have a good understanding of different cultures, which was a weakness identified in the last inspection. Excellent programmes for personal, social, health and emotional development, together with robust and effective arrangements for care, guidance and support, ensure that all aspects of pupils' personal development and well-being are promoted exceptionally well. It is no surprise that parents are confident that any problems their children have will be dealt with quickly and effectively.
The school's success is based on the outstanding leadership and management provided by the headteacher, the very professional and enthusiastic approach of senior staff and governors, and the hard work and skill of its teachers and their helpers. No one is complacent; everyone works hard to further improve standards and the quality of what the school offers its pupils and their parents. Their efforts are successful because they are based on rigorous and accurate self-assessments and because plans for improvement take account of the views of all who have a stake in the school. Improvement since the last inspection has been good and the school has an excellent capacity to improve in the future. It provides excellent value for money.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage shares the same strengths as the rest of the school. Excellent care and support ensure that children quickly settle to learning. They make consistently good progress in the Nursery, where there is a good balance between purposeful activities from which they can choose and well focused sessions led by adults. Progress accelerates in the Reception classes where children benefit from extremely well taught literacy and numeracy sessions, and from the excellently resourced 'Plan, do and review' activities they can choose from. These very successfully promote pupils' learning across all the areas of the curriculum and are extremely effective in developing children's awareness of themselves as learners. Their extension into Year 1 very successfully eases transition into Key Stage 1.
What the school should do to improve further
There are no significant weaknesses that the school needs to address.
Achievement and standards
The school has maintained impressively high standards for many years. In 2005 and 2006 the performance of Year 2 pupils in writing, although better than that of pupils nationally, was not as strong as it had been previously. The school has very successfully reversed this dip through very well focused teaching, its excellent use of assessment to identify those who needed support or pushing on, and the extremely effective use of targets that help individuals to improve their work. Results in 2007 were again significantly higher than in most other schools and current tracking information shows pupils making impressive progress across Year 1 and Year 2.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils' outstanding personal development reflects the excellent care, guidance and support provided by the school. Staff fully understand that happy, healthy and secure pupils are effective learners and staff work very hard and successfully to ensure this. Pupils love 'Wake up, shake up' sessions and thoroughly enjoy their exciting lessons and 'theme weeks', which are often focused on different cultures and ways of life. Not surprisingly, their attendance is well above national averages. They participate very thoughtfully in evaluating how well they have completed activities and those provided to promote healthy living and their safety. As a result, they are developing excellent self-awareness, make informed choices at lunchtime and are very careful, for example when crossing roads. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. This is evident in their excellent behaviour, relationships, ability to cooperate on tasks and their knowledge and understanding of different cultures.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Pupils make excellent progress because teaching is of a consistently high quality across the school. Lessons are always very well focused on what pupils need to learn. Pupils work hard to demonstrate that they can do what is expected of them, because they often help to identify their own targets for the end of each lesson. Teachers make sure that the different groups in each class have work that is challenging. This ensures that higher-attaining pupils, including those who may have particular gifts or talents, and those who need extra help, make such impressive progress. Skilful, well trained assistants play a full role in delivering these highly effective lessons. Adults make exceptionally good use of high quality resources to make their explanations clearer and to support pupils when they are engaged on tasks.
Curriculum and other activities
The school places a great emphasis on 'learning by doing' and in personalising learning to pupils' needs. Practical approaches are used whenever possible and pupils are regularly encouraged and guided to plan and evaluate aspects of their learning. These, together with many interesting visits, visitors and 'theme weeks' motivate and inspire pupils in the learning process. Considerable efforts have been made to improve pupils' personal development and well-being. The school's research into aspects of this, such as pupils' attitudes to learning, and excellent programmes to promote these, underpin the outstanding outcomes in this vital area of their development. Very effective and purposeful links have been made between subjects that ensure learning is both efficient and enhanced.
Care, guidance and support
All adults in school work with a common purpose of ensuring that pupils are happy, secure and make the best progress they can. The school provides excellent information to parents, listens and acts on their concerns and provides many opportunities for them to be involved in their children's learning. The performance of all pupils is monitored very closely, and prompt and effective action taken to tackle any problems that arise. Pupils are given excellent guidance on how they can improve their writing through targets that are discussed and agreed with them, and used consistently in lessons. This is making a very positive impact on progress. All the requirements for safeguarding pupils have been implemented rigorously.
Leadership and management
The headteacher has very high expectations for pupils and the school. She has worked hard and very successfully to ensure that all teachers make valuable contributions to the continuous process of improving standards and progress. The leadership team is fully involved, as are teachers in their roles as subject leaders, in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the school. A wide range of very appropriate and effective strategies is used to inform this rigorous process, including research programmes. Full account is taken of the views of governors, parents and pupils as well as the outcomes from the accurate and realistic self-evaluation to inform the extremely appropriate improvement plans. These are implemented very effectively and successfully tackle any relative weaknesses that are identified. Governors keep a very watchful eye on the school's performance and work extremely well with school staff in promoting very high quality provision.